The Ranch, Oregon

The 64,000 acre ranch is basically a wasteland in the central Oregonian high desert. It is twenty miles from the nearest shop. It is a dust bowl in the summer and muddy in the winter – hence its original name, ‘The Big Muddy’. It has one old farmhouse.

Despite this daunting beginning, a model agricultural commune quickly rises.

Kit homes for volunteer workers (sannyasins) are trucked in and installed almost daily. Thousands of overgrazed and economically unviable acres are reclaimed for a huge vegetable farm and the raising of stock and chickens.

Within two years [Osho’s] disciples transformed the ranch into a multi-dimensional farming community, building roads, prefabricated homes, storage buildings, electricity and water supplies, sewage disposal systems, a dairy unit, and using the latest farm machinery. A herd of Holstein cows provides the community with milk, butter, cheese and yogurt. The commune’s six-acre chicken farm provides eggs for the community, the hens fed with recycled waste food from the dining rooms. Much of the ranch ‘s rangeland was suited to sheep and cattle, but massive overgrazing during the past 50 years destroyed the soil, grasses, waterways, and wildlife. One of the first projects was a rangeland reclamation program to stop erosion, slow down the run-off rainwater and en­courage grasses back to the barren hills. The commune quickly developed a 50-acre truck farm, which now grows almost all their vegetables and began a dry-land program on the ranch’s uplands that yields wheat, barley, oats, rye and legumes. They also keep bees for honey and even boast a vineyard.’ POL Magazine, Australia


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